Michel Labbé (Mike to many), is an Urban and Regional Planning Graduate from the University of Waterloo. He has been involved in the production of affordable housing for 33 years, the first 13 working on subsidized rental projects with Lantana Non-profit Housing Corporation.
A trip, to work in the Townships of Johannesburg, South Africa, and the disappearance of government grants contributed to a shift in focus to affordable ownership housing.
Since 1992, Michel as President of Options For Homes Non-profit Corporation has been instrumental in developing a model that can provide mixed income housing to thousands of households without any permanent government subsidy. Options For Homes has become a leading organisation in the Social Enterprise movement and has provided homes to over 3700 households across Canada. The Options housing model is now also being adopted abroad in 20 countries across the world.
Options began expanding its business model to be applied to other social enterprises in 2009. Car sharing organization, Options for Cars, and green energy division, Options for Green Energy have launched. Additionally, the Community Wealth Non-Profit, a non-profit social enterprise that acts as a financing agent for the social enterprise community, is part of the growing business model founded by Michel.
Options has been honoured as a Tarion Award of Excellence Finalist in the High Rise Builder category in 2011, as an Affordable Housing Champion by the City of Toronto in 2010, as a Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, has been listed on the Tides Top Ten Social Enterprises for 2007, and has won the Canadian Urban Institute Local Hero Award. Options is also licensing its concept across Canada and internationally.